Young entrepreneurship rate trebles in Wales in 10 years

The number of young people getting involved in their own business ventures in Wales has trebled over the last decade, according to a new report.

The annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitoring report covering 2011 was released this week to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The early stage entrepreneurial rate amongst 18 to 29-year-olds continued to rise - up to 9.7% from 3.4% in 2002.

The Welsh government spends almost £4m annually on young business people.

Young entrepreneurs can also apply to general funds for assistance including the scheme that helps start-up businesses.

While teenager entrepreneurs are the focus of the BBC's Young Apprentice, schools across the country are also home to young people learning to run businesses.

For 50 years, the Young Enterprise charity has been running programmes to educate and encourage the business leaders of the future.

Last year in Wales, around 150 student companies were set up, involving 2,000 pupils.

Pupils from Year 11 at Stanwell School in Penarth won awards from Young Enterprise last year for designing, manufacturing and selling products.

Teachers and students at the school say the benefits have included improving decision making, leadership and time management skills.

Image caption Pupils from Year 11 at Stanwell School in Penarth won awards from Young Enterprise last year

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report showed increasing interest in the early stages of launching a business.

Entrepreneurship increased to 8.1% from under 5.8% last year. UK-wide early stage entrepreneurship was 7.6%.

The Welsh government is investing almost £4m a year specifically on youth entrepreneurship.

It has a five-year strategy that has been broadly welcomed, but some business leaders would like the Assembly itself to get more involved in the issue.

Anna Milewski, from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Wales, told BBC Wales' Sunday Politics programme: "We recognise that the Welsh government has done some excellent work in this area and we recognise that the Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy is a progressive one that is delivering, certainly to an extent, in Wales.

"What we'd like to see is a clear progress, a detailed progress report from, perhaps, a national assembly committee.

"Just to see how it's delivering, what improvements could be made and what outcomes are really being delivered for young people."

The team at Dojo Arcade won Glamorgan University's future entrepreneurs award last year and are now developing a game for the international market.

The company's Tobias Johnson said: "There's been a lot of people in the area who've tried to support us and help us.

"But I do feel that there definitely does need to be more, because there are so many people who are coming out of university now and they're qualified skilled people and they're not having the opportunity to use their skills."

Dojo Arcade is one of a falling number of enterprises setting up in Wales over the last five years, and confidence seems low, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitoring report.

It found that less than 17.7% in Wales thought there were good opportunities for starting a business in the next six months.

Across the UK the figure was almost 27.9%.

Sunday Politics Wales, BBC1 Wales, 12:15 GMT.

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